Senator Kevin Cramer talked Tuesday about his support for the renomination of Jerome Powell as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, while also commenting on several other issues.
"I was a great defender of Chairman Powell's during the Trump years. President Trump and I went nose to nose a couple of times on some of the Fed's policies. I was grateful that he kept back some of the capacity for lowering rates when we really needed them last year to get more money into a system and into an economy that didn't know what was going to happen," said Cramer.
Cramer made the comment during his Bully Pulpit Town Hall event in Fargo Tuesday. Cramer hosted Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan. Much of the conversation focused on the development of the energy industry in North Dakota. Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford was among elected leaders and industry leaders who provided updates on projects and future business prospects.
During a one-on-one interview with WDAY Radio News, Cramer also responded to former President Trump, who recently described Cramer as a "RINO". The criticism from Trump comes in the wake of Cramer voting in support of President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
"I disagree with him. I wish we would have done infrastructure when he was the president. He tried. Nancy Pelosi was not a willing dance partner. He tried to do a lot bigger infrastructure package. I'll tell you this though when he wanted to do it and i would have agreed one hundred percent. If he wanted to spend $3 trillion on an infrastructure package instead of just throwing the money out the window to help keep the economy afloat during the pandemic, that would have made sense," said the Senator.
Cramer says spending on an infrastructure package during Trump's term would have avoided the inflation happening now. He says the country would have been "building an infrastructure that has as its primary purpose the movement of commerce and the profitability of the private sector, paying people to work rather than not work".
He also talked about supply chain issues, including the dozens of cargo ships now backed up off the coast of Southern California.
"Unfortunately the choke point has happened for a multitude of reasons and some of them self inflicted. But what I worry the most about is the availability of a workforce to help unclog the choke point. The problem with that is we have trained a generation of people in the last couple of years to get paid and not work. We have created a bit of a culture I am afraid. Getting people back to work after being rewarded so much to not work is a slow process," said Cramer.
Cramer believes the shipping back up will eventually be resolved, but "not by Christmas". He also suggested part of the solution could involve granting commercial drivers licenses to 18-year-olds, and allowing them to cross state lines even if it's temporary to "unclog the choke points". He also suggests allowing non-union drivers to provide service to the ports.
Senator Cramer also offered harsh criticism for Dr. Anthony Fauci over Fauci's job performance during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Cramer says Fauci should be out of a job.
"The guy has got more political savvy than anybody I've ever seen in politics that he could still be employed quite honestly. He's been caught lying. He has absolutely been caught red-handed lying under oath to congress. All he does is get promotions and gets a seemingly bigger platform. I think he is a person that started out with a great deal of respect, he has credentials that he as earned, but he quickly got caught up in his own celebrity and ego," said Cramer.